Johannesburg South’s favourite entertainment destination, Gold Reef City (https://www.tsogosun.com/gold-reef-city-casino), is celebrating women who work in the casino industry this Women’s Month. Meet some of the ladies who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure visitors have an ongoing feast of entertainment 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
Deshnee Naidu, Human Resources Manager, believes in surrounding herself with only the best people, people who encourage her to be the best she can be. She acknowledges that life teaches you very quickly that you are defined by the company you keep, and it is your own personal brand that actually determines your success in both your personal and professional life. How does this dedicated professional balance her work and personal life? She admits that it is tough at times but she has learned over the years that life is all about balance. The ability to disconnect and give her work and personal life the attention they both deserve is a daily choice that she makes.
When it comes to women in the workplace, Deshnee feels there is still stereotyping that defines women as unable to manage a work / personal life balance, and that they are not “tough enough” to deal with industry challenges. But when she looks around her, she sees many strong, talented women successfully holding senior positions within the casino industry. The gaming industry is a tough industry to be in. While to the outside world it looks glamorous, every single one of the employees work hard every single day. The shift nature of the business demands that they manage their time accordingly, that their families and friends learn to cope with seeing less of them. But it is not all doom and gloom. Deshnee’s career has been very rewarding. She loves seeing others succeed, knowing that she has played some role in unleashing their potential. Her most memorable moment at Tsogo Sun, however, was the day she graduated from the Gaming Management Development Programme as the only non-gaming individual to have successfully completed the course. Asked what advice she would give to young people considering a career in the casino industry she said, “This is a dynamic, exciting career adventure for any youngster who is committed and dedicated to growing their knowledge, learning new things daily and being exposed to a whole new world of work.”
Natasha Bezuidenhout, Brand Manager for Gold Reef City Theme Park, believes that life is what you make of it – if you take the situation you are in and choose to see the positives, you will be much happier in life, as well as at work. As a mother and a successful career woman, Natasha knows all about trying to find a balance between her family life and work life. She tries her utmost to complete her work during the working day. This means that she seldom has to work overtime or take work home. She admits that when she is on holiday, she checks her emails once a day for urgent issues. Her family also tries to get away once a month for a weekend to make sure their family time is well balanced.
When she is at work, this brand manager feels like she is constantly keeping a variety of different balls in the air. Balancing her marketing and her retail duties is quite a challenge since she oversees the retail department for the Theme Park as well. Her position does, however, have its rewards. The most satisfying element of her job is being part of a successful event or promotion that makes a real impact on the bottom line. But what stands out as the most memorable moment in her career was receiving her marketing management degree after nine years of part-time studies.
Natasha is proud to work for Tsogo Sun. For her, the company is a leader in the field when it comes to equal rights for men and women in the work place. Although she feels there is still gender inequality in many other companies, she has not had to prove herself as a woman in Tsogo Sun. But there have been other challenges in her career that have grown her as a person. Natasha has realised that giving your best is not always enough. She had to come to terms with the fact that you can’t keep everyone happy. Her work ethic is very important to her and she is her own worst critic! When asked what advice she would give young people considering a career in the casino industry she said, “Work as hard as you can and learn as much as you can from as many people as possible. I started my career as a Casino Host in 1999 and have worked my way up to where I am now by learning as much about every aspect of marketing as possible. This will ensure that you achieve the success that you want.”
Danelle Coulson, Communications Manager, believes in living life to the fullest and she is proud of the fact that she is halfway there! She has done many things from theatre, to farming ostriches, to manufacturing leather goods. But it doesn’t end there, this established career woman is a published author, has had a career in marketing abroad and has worn many different hats over her lifetime including wedding planner, banqueting manager, private chef, mother, wife and grandmother. Her career has certainly taken her places! So, how then does this multifaceted lady achieve the elusive work / personal life balance? She admits that this is a struggle. Her son, his partner and her grandchild have a permanent dinner date every Thursday. Other than that, she tries her best to make time for family and friends on the weekends. As long as she can cook for them, she can escape the pressures of the week!
When it comes to women in the workplace, Danelle believes the biggest challenge they face is to be taken seriously. The most challenging aspect of her role as communication manager is to make sure the projects are rolled out timeously, especially when she depends on other people to make it happen. But when it all comes together; it is the most rewarding aspect of her role. Her most memorable moment in her career at Tsogo Sun, however, is when she worked at Hemingways in East London. That is when she achieved the perfect work / personal life balance and she loved the coastal life.
As runner up of the Krugersdorp Chamber of Commerce Women of the Year, Danelle’s colourful career is full of surprises. With all this business sense, she still managed to study theatre at Pretoria Technikon revealing an unexpected eccentric streak! When asked what most people don’t know about her, she quipped, “I have two grown up children and one teenager and became a grandmother in December to the most beautiful baby girl, Miche. On a more serious note, I co-authored a South African Ostrich cook book and was the Chairperson for the South African Ostrich Industry!”
For more information on what’s happening at Gold Reef City Casino & Theme Park, visit www.tsogosun.com/gold-reef-city-casino.